Date:  June 19, 2020

China (International Christian Concern) – A cathedral in eastern China’s Shandong province had its plaza turned into a market place, after the Chinese premier began to promote street vendors in a hope to boost China’s struggling economy.

According to UCA News, although the St. Michael’s Cathedral in Qingdao has not been open due to the pandemic, since early June, some 20 stalls have appeared in front of the church selling toys, home decorations and ornaments with the permission of local authorities but without the knowledge of parishioners.

A member of the cathedral parish told UCA News on June 17 that the local administration gave permission to these stalls in response to Premier Li Keqiang’s call for promoting street businesses to salvage the sagging economy.

According to a parishioner, the church used to own the square in front of the cathedral but local authorities later designated it as government property. “It is now a free market, but without the consent of the parish and without any rents given to the parish.”

Paul Ma, a parishioner, commented that while churches are closed purportedly to keep social distancing and prevent the virus, “But they then open a market just outside the church and allow people to gather without any restrictions. It is clearly an injustice to Christians.”

The free market in front of the church, in the words of Shandong social observer Xu Houjia, is an example of “blind execution of top leadership ideas by local authorities.”

HOW TO PRAY: Pray for churches in China to reopen quickly and safely. Pray for protection for church property in China. Pray for the Gospel to continue spreading throughout this nation.